There might only be one or two lighting techs in a school, but there are more than that in the real world. How do I get noticed to get a position? Do colleges care about how much outside work you get away from your own theatre or school?
Networking between folks is a key issue to getting "known" in this industry either in your area or even on a larger scale.. Meet folks, learn names, and introduce yourself around. Also--attend industry seminars and sessions and conventions when possible to keep up to date on new tech and some of the buzz of this biz--plus you never know who you will meet there or bump into. Also kleeping a portfolio of your work, designs, final pictures on stageetc is also helpful in showing your style among potential customers and clients. Another good step to getting around is to take freelance AND do general shop and crew work for one or two specific company's in your area who do shows and productions. The more a company gets to know you--the more responsibility and tasks you can earn their trust in accomplishing for them...
my short and quick two cents--I'm sure others have points to bring up that I have left out....
You are looking at your biggest resource to find confrences and events. The internet. I am not sure how old you are but in College in the south actors and techs often go to the Southeastern Theatre Confrence (SETC) you can find out more about that at setc.org. Alot of people *parade* themselves at that. The American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) Is huge here in Michigan where I am going to school. jmsinick has taken a lighting design to ACTF and will hopefully be taking three more this year. It is the top theatre festival, or competition really, in the country or so I have been told.
Google Google Google, I can not stress how much you can find out jsut by google-ing *tech theatre confrence* and *tech theatre seminar*
One that I saw when I googled that I know I have heard about is SETC obviously and the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology confrence held in August, and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology ( www.citt.org , www.usitt.org )
Since you are wondering about conferences, the biggest one in the US is LDI (www.ldishow.com). It is where all the big companies show off thier latest toys. It happens every year in November in Orlando or Las Vegas this year is Orlando. The best would be to go through a company like ETC that tends to give free floor passes (I think they still do) that will often mean being put on the guest list for the ETC party at the end. That is when you can meet lots of people that work in the field (you should avoid being to salesman like with your introductions and card hand offs but talk to people and if they seem interested or willing by all means hand them a card (even if its an ink jet card).
And don't stress too much about how many theatres you have worked in prior to college. If you are going to a college that has a good theatre dept. they will know that you can onlyt be in so many theatres at once. Would proably be good to have some other extra activity though.