for volunteer patrol, the only thing i had to take was the OEC course. as said before, it was about 100 hours, but it was a lot of fun, you develope useful skills, its an all around interesting experience. for paid patrol out west, you're def going to need avalanche courses and probably more intense medical training, i'm not sure what courses you'd need though. if you've got time before you leave for college, i def recommend taking the oec course and getting a job as a volunteer patroller at your local hill.
as to the job itself, it can be a lot of fun, and there are a lot of perks. skiing for free, first chair, testing out closed trails, getting amazing discounts on great gear, etc. but of course, there are going to be times when someone will really mess themself up. its no fun, and its a big responsibility. you will definitely not work as much as you ski, however. good luck man