After I got out of the Navy-12 years, I got a job with a company with 3 service techs. I rode with other techs for 3 months before the boss put me in my own truck. I went on pager rotation and passed the journeyman test for Virginia as soon as my time was reached for eligibility. The best compliment I ever received was when the owner/boss referred to me as a sponge. I heard this from one of the senior techs.
I now have my own small shop in Texas, and I hope that I am still a sponge.
Licensing laws are tough, and it's about time.