Here at Tennessee Truck Driving School we speak to many people that ask about getting their Class A CDL on their own. Many feel that they can study for their permit and have either a family member or a friend that can teach them how to drive on a privately owned tractor trailer.
This is certainly true. You can study for your learners permit and take the written test on your own time. Also, if you know someone that owns their own tractor trailer and they can train you how to pass the practical driving exam, you do not need a school to get your Class A CDL endorsement. No where in the Department of Transportations guidelines or in the issuing states laws does it say you have to attend a school to get your endorsement.
But that doesn't tell the whole story. You can get your CDL on your own but the problem is going to be getting a job after that. The majority of carriers require more than just your Class A endorsement before they will give you a job. They require real world over the road experience or a diploma from a state recognized school. Most carriers require a diploma from a school certifying that you completed at least 140 hours of training if you don't have practical over the road experience.
Obviously most people decide to get their CDL to gain employment. With this being your primary goal, a student driver needs to understand the process required to gain entry into the truck driving work force. Considering that most carriers reimburse the student entirely for all their training, it only makes sense to spend you time getting the training required to put your CDL endorsement to good use.