Yesterday I finally renewed my CHL, which expired in March of 2011. You actually have a 1-year grace-period to renew the CHL license. If you wait longer than the 1-year point, you have to re-take the entire class over again, just like starting from scratch. I believe a background check and fingerprints are required again too.
In the renewal class, which costs less than the first-time class, all you have to do is attend a 2-hour classroom session, take the final exam (most of the questions are common sense, and the rest are updates on the law from the last test you took), and fire your gun at the range, scoring at least a 175 on the targets they use. Shooting is extremely easy. I scored a 243, which was actually lower than most of the others shooting with me. I need to put some practice time in at the pistol range.
The best place I have found to take the first-time test or renewal is Safe Shot in Ft Worth. Sgt Keith McGuire is a Ft Worth Police Officer, and he only charges $95 for the first class, and $60 for renewals. This includes all fingerprints, paperwork, etc…everything but the state fee for the actual license. When I took my original class from him 4 years ago, there were other teachers in the DFW area charging $150 or more for the same exact class. I would highly recommend Sgt McGuire; he makes the class fun, he is very well-informed on the laws of CHL, and he is easily accessible after the class is over, both through cell phone and email. There have been times during the year when I had a common question about a CHL law. I could email Sgt McGuire and receive a reply within a day or 2. He is always willing to help with any questions or issue you might have.