My build is currently stalled due to funds, but I thought I might as well start posting some useful information.
I went ahead and got my Class A Exempt (Exempt is the non-CDL version). Technically a Class B should have worked just fine, but I figured no sense in not going Class A as it is likely to be useful down the road. The big difference was I had to test on a Class A vehicle.
Place I used was http://www.getitdonecdl.com/
and they were great. Ran me $300 (appears to be $275 at present?), supplied the truck for the test and everything. Very friendly, very helpful. Highly recommended. Another big thing was he was fully willing to deal with someone going for the Exempt rather than CDL, a problem I ran into with a nearby competitor who charged slightly less but was most extremely unwelcoming.
Now, before going to him, you need to get the permit to be legal to practice/test. This is a small fee, paperwork, and test at the DMV. The process is straightforward, just remember you are going for either a 'Class A Exempt' or a 'Class B Exempt' if you are not going for CDL. That is the official name. Not all folks at the DMV will be familiar with it. Some will ask questions that only further confuse you both! More rural areas should be more familiar with them as they are popular with farm use.
For the test you take, there are two man*u*als. The first is a large newsprint type ‘Texas Com*mer*cial Motor Vehi*cle Dri*vers Hand*book’ which has *every*thing* in it. Very good to read through, famil*iar*ize, and ref*er*ence! For actual study*ing for the test, it is best to use the sec*ond book, a school bus yel*low ‘Texas Dri*vers Hand*book’, chap*ter 15. Also note Chap*ter 8–3 for the speed/vehicle chart.
Best of luck.