So it seems to be a fairly universal belief that it takes 5 years as a helper/apprentice to advance to full technician/mechanic status. Now I'm not talking about "classification"...I'm in the dirty south and we are sans union and no requirements in Louisiana whatsoever to get your HVAC state license other than paying for it and passing the state test. I'm referring to the ability to go out in the field and competently do HVAC work. Why so long? Is it because so many guys are stuck in attics pulling duct work for the first few years? Now I realize that all men are not created equally (the guy I replaced was a helper for 5 years and was never trusted to do even the most basic of tasks alone...hard working simpleton), but I'd really like to hear from some guys that were out getting it done after a year or two. I only personally know two HVAC company owners, and they BOTH went out on their own with only tech school and 2 years or less hands on experience. One of said companies (the one I currently work for) is older than I am, the other is 10+ years old and going strong with 3 trucks on the road and 5 full time employees. So what gives? Who out there among you has struck out on their own after a couple years and is still making it? Not just guys that started their own business after just a couple years, but also the guys getting paid real money working for other companies after just a year or two. How did you do it? I pay attention, ask questions, take notes (ya, the guy I work with thinks its HILARIOUS that I take notes in the field), let my tech relax and watch me do his work whenever possible, and come home and read my books and lurk on here. I'm guessing that's what you did???