Free market is a myth.
It is heavily regulated, and license requirements are common.
A license is a tax required to be certified. You get a document for yourself.
A regulation is a body of law. Typically inspections and permitting are the compliance documents under the law.
Think drivers license vs. state emissions inspection to comply with environmental law.
Question is, why are licenses required to be a teacher, hairdresser, practice law, be a contractor, operate a pizza shop, a car wash, or drive a car, and not photography?
This is not so cut and dry.
In the case of car dealers, where I live, you can sell up to six cars a year as an individual.
Beyond that, or if you have a lot, you must be a licensed dealer. Why? Well, turns out, dealers don't want everyone with a checkbook as a comoetitor. So, it requires a license.
Photographers could do the same thing. They won't because they don't have the money and pull to change it.
Very simple things could go a long way. For example, short of regulation, a smart PR effort by your professional organization to require apprenticeships to be nationally certified coupled with telling organizations like schools what the risks are when hiring or allowing any access to school property by uncertified people. If they also tell the insurance companies, and require background checks as part of their private certification, what would happen? Hmmmmm. You might like that idea, because it is essentially using the free market to restrict access.
It isn't that hard to imagine ways to make photography the profession it should be. I really would like to help.
By the way, there is an SEC law which requires all investors in private businesses meet a wealth test. Why is that? Too bad we have no evidence that they don't want me and five neighbors to compete with them for investment in someone's business.
Licensing and regulation were wrtten by and for people. People had interests. Those interests are in that law. And if you look deep enough, it makes almost no sense. Unless, of course, you're on the right side of that protection.