Teams are groups comprised of four individuals that are formed to fight alongside one another. In Beacon Academy and other schools, students are put into teams to learn together and practice with other teams while training to become Huntsmen.
Teams are formed at Huntsman Academies with the intention of forming lasting bonds and fostering empathy between team members. After graduating from an academy, a team may stay together or disband for its members to pursue solo careers.
Following the Great War, the King of Vale abolished the monarchy and created the Huntsmen Academies to train Huntsmen. He put students into 4 person teams to encourage teamwork.
Professor Ozpin claims that the King of Vale was inspired by the Mistralian Fairy Tale of ''The Hunter's Children'' when developing the Huntsmen Academies, taking the four-man squad and ideals of the tale as lessons to heart and using them as foundational cores to the Huntsman ideology.
The first letter of each team member's name is used to form an acronym that stands for the name of the team. In some cases, the first letter of a member's surname may be used. The team leader's initial is the first letter of the team name.
Every team name follows the color naming rule of Remnant. This means a team name has to be a color, mean a color, sound like a color or make people think of a certain color.
The day after arriving at Beacon Academy, first-year students (such as Ruby Rose, Jaune Arc, etc.) are gathered at the edge of Beacon Cliff overlooking the Emerald Forest where Ozpin and Glynda Goodwitch stand before them and explain the procedure of the Beacon Academy Initiation that they will soon undergo. After being launched from the Cliff and landing in the forest below, the first pair of students to make eye contact with each other are partners for the rest of their time at Beacon, which consists of four years.
To complete the team of four, as seen in "Players and Pieces", the two pairs of students who pick matching relics found at the abandoned temple are combined to form a team, and Ozpin chooses the leader based on who displays the best leadership skills during the initiation.
As of "The Badge and The Burden", the team members of each respective team share a dorm. Even Team JNPR, a co-ed team, share a single dorm.
In "End of the Beginning", it is unknown if any of the teams at Beacon remain active after the academy's destruction and its headmaster's disappearance. In particular, Team RWBY goes inactive due to the separation of its members but later reforms in "Haven's Fate". It is possible that some teams transfer to another academy, an example being Team CFVY transferring to Shade Academy.
As the initiation at Shade Academy starts, students are told to board armed Air Buses, which take them over the Vacuan desert. The cadets then receive individual coordinates which they have to reach, and they are informed their Scroll connections will be blocked. They are also told they have exactly three objectives:
Survive the desert.
Find your way to an airbus which will take you back to Shade Academy.
Locate and retrieve a golden trinket in the desert.
After reaching several thousand feet of height, the floor of the aircraft suddenly flings open, dropping all students into the desert below. The students are forced to find their own landing strategies to safely reach the soft sand.
It is unknown how teams are selected, although Scarlet David believes it is entirely random as based on Team SSEA's formation.
Following the Fall of Haven, all known teams from Haven Academy transferred elsewhere. Teams SSSN and ABRN both transferred to Shade Academy in RWBY: After the Fall and RWBY: Before the Dawn, respectively. Teams ABRN and SSSN only remaining active teams from Haven, with the other teams either quitting or being killed by Tyrian and Hazel. 
Additionally, despite not being actual students, Cinder's Faction used a team consisting of Cinder, Emerald, Mercury, and Neopolitan to infiltrate the Vytal Festival Tournament under the guise of students from Haven.
Since first-year students are seen speculating how teams are going to be formed and even asking others to join theirs the morning before being assigned teammates, the process and details of creating teams at Beacon are kept secret until the initiation. Glynda herself calls what the students heard as "rumors", although Pyrrha knew the teams consisted of four students each beforehand and Nora was previously aware that the test would take place in the forest.
There are twenty black and white chess pieces visible in the temple, two for each piece in chess, both white and black. This would mean that there is a possible total of ten teams of four able to pass the initiation.
Each team has its own motif. For examples, RWBY's is fairy tales, JNPR's is cross-dressing warriors and legends, CRDL's is birds, and CFVY's is various sweets.
All fully revealed teams have a member whose name alludes to a shade of red: Ruby Rose (RWBY), Pyrrha Nikos (JNPR), Scarlet David (SSSN), Velvet Scarlatina (CFVY), Cardin Winchester (CRDL), Arslan Altan (ABRN), Roy Stallion (BRNZ), Octavia Ember (NDGO), Cinder Fall (Cinder's Team), Summer Rose (SSSN), Arthur Watts (Salem's lieutenants), and Robyn Hill (Happy Huntresses).
Penny's Team was left ambiguous as having only shown two members.
This pattern was later broken with Teams FNKI and the Ace Operatives not having any characters that allude to a shade of red.
The temporary teams of Shade Academy also mostly follow this pattern: Octavia Ember (NOVA), Umber Gorgoneion (FNDU), Scarlet David (ROSC), and possibly Elektra Fury (SSEA), with the exception of Team BYRN.
Under most circumstances, all letters in a team name consist of their members' first initials. However, there are three cases in which the last initial is the one in the team name: Lie Ren, Sky Lark and May Zedong.
Despite the fact that all teams have their first letters represent the name of their leaders, Jaune, Weiss, and Ruby are all shown to be surprised at who would command the group. This may merely be the students' lack of knowledge as to how teams are assigned.
In the first episode of Volume 4, Ren, Nora and Jaune debate on whether to call their new team RNJR (Ranger) or JNRR (Junior).
Nora explains that there are more members from Team JNPR, so they should be called Team JNRR. Ren disagrees because the pronunciation of the name does not link to a color. He also points out that since they are helping Ruby on her mission, their team name should start with Ruby's initial. Thus, creating the team name RNJR.