The newly-married 30-year-old from Crewe spent a year living away from her husband while she took her postgraduate certificate in education at St Martin's college in Carlisle.
She had to negotiate a year's break from her mortgage and clocked up another pound;3,000 of debt while she completed the course.
But she thought it would be worth it: teaching was her vocation and she was under the impression that she would be able to find a job before her course finished in June.
Five months and 35 applications for teaching jobs later, Ms Dickens has done a stint as a chambermaid and is now working nightshifts in a factory packing mobile telephones.
With positive feedback from the one interview she did get and good college reports she remains confident of her abilities, but doubts the jobs are there.
Friends have managed to find teaching posts in London and inner-city Leeds, but she has seen few vacancies for primary teachers in Cheshire.
"I begin to despair because I have given up so much to do this," she said.
"You want to do the job and then you realise you can do it and have got a lot to give but you don't get any chance to show it.
She said advertising campaigns had given the impression teachers were in short supply. "With all the adverts on TV trying to persuade people to go into teaching I think things have been incredibly misleading. It has to be partly the Government's fault."
"People keep saying to me, 'I thought they were crying out for teachers'.
Well I don't know where they are crying out for them but it isn't here."