Verbal Behavior Institute (VBI): 40-Hour RBT Training

If you’re looking to become an RBT you might be confused by all the options available for the 40-hour training requirement. Which one is best?

No single training is a good fit for all students. The 40-hour training offered by the Verbal Behavior Institute is a great choice for RBT candidates who feel engaged with training where they can see the instructor as they present. This training also provides many real-life examples for students who plan to be working in a school setting. The included exam prep modules give students the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned to help get them ready for the exam required by the BACB.

Our full review is in this video, with additional detail below:

About the Instructors at the Verbal Behavior Institute

We weren’t able to find any information about the instructors until after we signed up for the training. Once logged in, you will discover that the lead instructor is Vivian Attanasio, BCBA, LBA. Her biography from her training is below:

Vivian Attanasio has been serving the special needs community for over 20 years. In that time, she has served many roles such as school Psychologist, Case Manager, Clinical Director and Consultant.

She has designed ABA classrooms utilizing B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior across several counties of New Jersey. In addition, she has published research in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis on vocal production.

Currently, Ms. Attanasio is VP of the Behavior Services Department for the Services for a NY-based not-for-profit organization which serves over 300 adults with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities.

Below is confirmation of her registry with the BACB:

Through the lessons, you will learn that Vivian has a passion for children. She clearly empathizes with the children she works with and strives to help others understand that they don’t see the world in the same way.  During the training, she reminds students that when things are written down about a learner the information stays in their file.  She encourages her students to set an example and advocate for the children they work with.

Some of the lessons are led by James O’Brien, MA, BCBA, NY-LBA. There is no biography for Jim.

What We Love about the 40 Hour Training through VBI

User Controls

Unlike some trainings we’ve tried, with the training offered through the Verbal Behavior Institute the user has controls in the videos so you can back up and listen to lessons again if you miss something.  You can stop and start each video when you need to. Know that if you forward through a video it won’t mark the lesson as complete. The BACB requires 40 hours for training and you must watch the entire video to get credit for the lesson.


The navigation through the training is simple and intuitive. The check marks and progress bars next to each lesson allows you to quickly see exactly how much you’ve completed and what you have left to do. While you’re viewing a lesson you’ll find similar indicators for each lesson in the module as well.

Downloadable Resources

Each presentation is available for you to download as either a PDF or PowerPoint. This allows you to keep the materials to use to study for your exam, but also to reference as you begin your career. There is a lot of information in these documents and they include her examples and case studies. The downloaded files have the name to match the lesson, but you’ll want to be sure to rename them to something more useful to make it easy to find information later one.


The training is full of examples that come from the real world and helps the student understand how to apply what is being taught. Her examples are especially helpful if you’re working, or planning to work in a school setting as her examples primarily take place in the classroom.


While she doesn’t demonstrate all of the skills being taught, some of the more advanced skills like discrete trial training are shown in practice with a student. These demonstrations help students better understand what will be expected of them in the field.

Exam Prep

The training comes with an Exam Prep section that contains quizzes for each module. While some users might prefer to have the quizzes accessible through the training, having them in a separate section allows you to truly use it as a practice for your exam.

What Could Be Improved in the 40 Hour Training through the VBI

While overall we feel this training is a good option for many students, there were areas in which the training from the Verbal Behavior Institute could be improved.

Extraneous Information

Not all of the information she covers relates specifically to an RBT’s role.  For example, she covers creating operational definitions which wouldn’t be something an RBT would do, however this knowledge might help an RBT work better with a BCBA.

Doesn’t Explain the RBT Role and Responsibilities

The lessons are organized according to the RBT task list.  This is good if your primary goal is understanding the BACB task list and how it relates to being an RBT.  Best for people who are linear thinkers, but you will need to plan on additional training to understand your role and responsibilities outside the task list.  This training is a good supplement if you’ve taken other training, like the free training offered through the Autism Partnership Foundation, but want to understand how ABA concepts relate to the task list.

Might be Confusing

The training follows the task list a bit too closely so if you don’t have any background knowledge of ABA you might be confused by some of her lessons. The concepts she introduces aren’t necessarily presented in a way that gives you context if you’re unaware of the terms she’s using, such as antecedent or consequence.  She sometimes uses these terms before she’s defined them which might be confusing for someone with no experience in ABA.

Who Should Register for the 40 Hour Training through VBI?

Is the 40 hour RBT training offered through the Verbal Behavior Institute right for you?

This training will be a good option for some people.  If the format appeals to you this is certainly one of the better options we’ve found.  The flexibility of having user control over the videos and the ability to watch them in any order, or rewatch parts of them if you need to is a great feature. 

All of the quizzes are in the Exam Prep section which is separate from the training. Some people might prefer a quiz after each of the lessons to test what they’ve learned.  But for others the idea of taking quizzes throughout the training might add unnecessary stress. Just know that you’ll have to navigate out of the training if you want to take the quiz after the lesson.

Another great resource is the downloadable materials. This is perfect for taking notes or studying.  She’s put a lot of work into this training and it’s worth the relatively small fee she’s charging. At $99 you get a lot of value in the training. This is a good mid-level option for students on a budget who need more guidance than what the free training through the Autism Partnership Foundation training offers.

Sign UpTry Something Else
You’re familiar with ABA terms and basic concepts.You’re brand new to ABA and you don’t have time to watch the videos more than once (see below for recommendations).
You work or plan to work in a school environment.You want an interactive training.
You’re a linear thinker who wants a training that strictly follows the BACB Task List.

If you’re new to ABA and you have the time, it might be good to start with the free training offered by the Autism Partnership Foundation (APF) to get some foundational knowledge of ABA and the terms, then take this training.  I have a review of this training as well – and why you might not want to rely on the free training as your only training before taking the exam (read our review). If you don’t have time to supplement this training with the one from APF, then you would be better off with the training offered through the Autism Therapy Career College (read our review).