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Sh4dowIn the midwest it's mostly volunteer (with the exception being Mount Bohemia), in the west they get paid. Probably in the east too.
You need OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) or EMT training. Some places will only accept one or the other, some places will accept either one. You also need CPR training. OEC/EMT is a course that takes several weels (I think 6-8 weeks). CPR is a few hours or less just one day. Don't get OEC or EMT without looking into which one your local ski area prefers or requires.
Some ski areas take a while to start patrolling at. Snowbird will only hire someone as Ski Patrol if they work at Snowbird as Winter Trail Crew first. It's essentially the entry level Ski Patrol. Alta will only hire people who have patrolled somewhere else for ~10 years first. Other ski areas might have similar requirements. Some will hire you right away if you show them you'll be good enough. They might require you to ski with them the season before to show them that you're a good enough skier (that's how Arapahoe Basin does it).
ECSTASKIIn perisher they're volunteers but they have to take a course and correct training and they get a free ticket for that day and another pass for another day.
Espen519All they are is a bunch of cops on skis
SkibumsmithIt's required that you wear a headband and sunglasses everyday and use really long poles without straps. It's also a plus if you ski just dynafits all the time. Make sure to call lift maintenance on the radio a lot to tell them that the uphill side of tower 11 looks out of alignment. A lot of places out west only have pro patrol and they start at like $13/hr I think.