If your popcorn ceiling is painted, you could be in for a long removal process. If you are unsure if the popcorn ceiling contains paint, simply take a tank sprayer and spray the ceiling. If the popcorn ceiling changes colors then it probably is not painted, but if the water repels off the ceiling then chances are it is painted. Although it is more difficult to remove, it is not impossible.
The first step is to wet the ceiling very well and just let it sit for 20 minutes or so. Wet the ceiling again and try to scrape under the paint to break it free. Depending on the paint, you may have to just slowly peel the paint away by hand or use a drywall taping knife. You will find out real fast which way is faster. There have been instances where the paint will come off in a whole sheet and still leave the popcorn on the ceiling.