I know a couple of pretty mediocre teachers with a bunch of letters after their names, and a few brilliant teachers who have hardly any diplomas. My thinking is to study ( and do exams) in as many dance forms as you can, knowledge can never hurt.
I agree. I have come across more than a few mediocre but 'qualified' teachers in my time, but equally plenty of truly excellent and inspiring ones that don't have a string of letters after their name, or at least don't make a big deal out of it. Membership of the various organisations should never be taken as a guarantee of good teaching. In practice all those memberships mean is that the individual has done a course (which often places at least as much emphasis on learning the organisation's syllabi as it does on good teaching practice) and is able to enter students in that particular organisation's examinations.
Gina, you are correct when you put 'study' first. Examinations have a place, but problems come when that is all the teacher focuses on. And, while I understand the pressures teachers come under, that happens all too often. In too many schools students do little else but exam syllabus work - the same exercises to the same music week in, week out. In an interview, former British dance educator Peter Brinson once described doing RAD as "like being in the army". Unfortunate maybe that he picked on one particular organisation, but he had a point. Such an approach may produce excellent exam results (great for presenting to parents and potential students), but does it produce thinking, creative, individual dancers? I think not.