Lab techs are very important people. They tend to be under-appreciated, and certainly there is a certain stigma in the sciences against lab techs, because they are seen as being inferior to the ‘real researchers’. But that’s bullshit. Lab techs know their equipment, the techniques, the chemicals. They teach the researchers how to do their research. Unfortunately, aside from their real income, that role is only repaid in acknowledgements; lab techs are rarely counted among the authors of papers unless they are working on new techniques.
Usually, to be a lab tech you have to have a fair amount of experience working in labs. Quite a lot of experience, actually. The best way to do that would probably be to have had multiple research internships, as well as at least a Master’s degree in sciences (or commensurate research experience). I wouldn’t be surprised if most lab techs had doctoral degrees, as it can require quite a bit of experience and knowledge. It’s extremely technical stuff.
Excerpts from some job ads I found on ScienceMag.org:
“A typical candidate would have a Bachelor or Master degree in the life sciences and prior experience doing wet-lab work in a demanding
environment. Candidates with a TA/MTA diploma or with a PhD will also be
“AAS, MLT or MT with at least one year experience or four years related laboratory experience. BS Degree preferred with required area of studies
in Chemistry and/or Biology.” [x]
Research institutes hire lab techs, but the most common place you will find positions are in unis and govt agencies. I’m afraid I can’t give you any more information than that.